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Book eyes nanotechnology risks.

Byline: Pamela H. Sacks


What do cell phones, odor-free socks and certain sunscreens have in common? They all make use of nanotechnology.

The phones have coatings that use nanomaterials to keep them shiny. The socks remain fresh smelling thanks to nanosilver, and the sunscreens are clear rather than white because of nanoparticles, says Jo Anne Shatkin.

While nanomaterials are proving useful in a wide variety of ways, the health and environmental impacts are uncertain, says Shatkin. "We just don't know what the risks are," she says.

Nanomaterials drew Shatkin's interest when she was leading a health risk assessment focusing on emerging environmental contaminants.

"I saw this as an emerging issue," she said. "Products are coming on the market so quickly with a wide breadth of applications and materials, and I really thought that risk analysis could help."

That led her to write her recently published book, "Nanotechnology: Health and Environmental Risks" (CRC Press, $49.95). Shatkin is quick to point out that her intention is not to frighten anyone. Rather, she wants to encourage "proactive management of the risks," she said. To that end, she has become involved in a number of professional activities. In her book, she offers ideas for managing the risks and for safe product design.

Those interested in whether certain items contain nanomaterials can check a listing of more than 800 products at

Shatkin has a bachelor's degree in biology and biotechnology from Worcester Polytechnic Institute and a master's degree and doctorate in risk management, environmental science and public health policy from Clark University. "I designed my own degree," she says. She lives in Paxton and is the managing director of Boston-based CLF Ventures Inc., which is part of the Conservation Law Foundation.

Shatkin will be at the WPI campus center bookstore from 3 to 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 6, for a book signing. Refreshments will be served.

Nicole Tadgell has graced another children's book with her wonderful watercolor illustrations. "No Mush Today," by Sally Derby (Lee and Low Books, $17.95) came out earlier this fall.

Tadgell's artwork illuminates the world of 6-year-old Nonie, who has had enough of "mushy mush" and a crying baby brother. Nonie refuses to eat her cornmeal mush for breakfast and longs to escape her bawling baby brother. She runs next door to her grandmother's house, where she's the center of attention. But later at a picnic, Nonie's father takes her for a boat ride to see the ducklings, and the little girl realizes being away from home has its down side: She's missing a lot of fun.

"True to the young kid's viewpoint, this picture book tells the displaced-sibling story with wry affection," according to Booklist.

Tadgell, who lives in Spencer, has received several awards for her illustrations, which often focus on multicultural themes. She is an assistant art director at Davis Advertising in Worcester.


CUTLINE: Shatkin

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Title Annotation:LIVING
Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Oct 29, 2008
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